News Article

BBC Warns Of Online Gaming Addiction, Uses Image Of Someone Playing Offline Mario Kart

Posted by Damien McFerran

Nothing like a bit of fact-checking, right?

Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games — or MMORPGs — are pretty addictive. The allure of a constantly connected world populated by other players and challenges is often too much for some people to resist, leading to gaming sessions which last for days rather than just a few hours.

According to researchers at Cardiff, Derby and Nottingham Trent universities in the UK, some hooked gamers are online for up to 90 hours at a time.

This is clearly a serious situation, and most certainly deserves to be reported on — so what does BBC Wales do? Posts the report up alongside an image of someone playing Super Mario Kart on the SNES — a version of the game which is only capable of supporting two players at any one time and certainly isn't connected to a persistent world (at least that's what we remember, but 1992 feels like a long time ago).

A classic case of some insightful and vital mainstream news reporting being undermined by sloppy research, or an honest mistake? We'll let you decide in the comments section below, but we doubt that Nintendo will be happy about being mistakenly associated with such a worrying piece of research.


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User Comments (91)



Grubdog said:

Surely a troll. If someone ran this lame article past me and I had to print it, I'd throw in something like that to kill its credibility.



Alienfish said:

You know, if these people got serious, people might start taking them seriously. To anyone who plays the original Mariokart for 90 hour stretches, God bless your soul.



DreamOn said:

Eh, likely they needed an image but didn't want to single out any one MMO Developer/game so played it generic with the 16 bit screen.



Vincent294 said:

Really? That's sad. Do your research. I thought that was a professional doing it.



Peach64 said:

BBC Wales are awful all over, but I think this is not worth getting worked up over. They just looked for an image tagged video games. Websites, newspapers and even TV news use stock images all the time, they're not claiming the game in the pic is online.

It's not a mistake. They also have a story up on welsh language channel S4C becoming available on iplayer and the image used is of a radio 1 show, because again they just found an image ragged with iplayer.

A mistake would be continually referring to Cardiff's new record signing as Stephen Caulker when his name is Steven.



fullyilly said:

You're all missing the point, the dude in the picture is STILL playing Mario Kart on his SNES from the day he purchased it in 1992...geez.



BakaKnight said:

Under the pic is written:
"Researchers at Cardiff claim some gamers play up to 90 hours per session"

It is not said the game in the pic is actually an online one, they only choosed a perfect example of an addictive multiplayer experience



Jazzer94 said:

They've also quoted a source as instead of for an article about Wii Us current situation and this is why I don't go to BBC news for game related articles.



Smitherenez said:

We in the Netherlands call this news period 'Komkommertijd'. There is no news so people start publishing articles like the one that is mentioned in this article. It is really strange that the guy or gal that wrote that article at the BBC used that picture. And wow! 90 HOURS! I really can't see myself doing that! I play a lot of games and sometimes I play for a couple of hours, but I will never be able to play for that long. I just get bored of playing games after a couple of hours.



Geonjaha said:

Gaming is still the form of media that has to be bashed by the mainstream. Eventually we'll move past it. Eventually.



Shambo said:

@Geonjaha it must be something like that, because the internet is for 'useful information' (at least for publicity and governments), tv is (lazy, advertisement-filled, brainwashing and censored) entertainment and information, music is 'art' and 'expression'... Right.

Videogames make people kill each other at random. Almost exactly as true as the aforementioned statements, with the only difference being that those were partially true.



Chris720 said:

@C-Olimar And I'm sorry to report, but Doctor Who's been getting worse since Scott Moffit took over. Doctor Who now isn't even a shadow of its former glory.

@Article The BBC are known for reporting all kinds of wacky crap with no proper source material. The should just stick to normal news.



Lin1876 said:

90 hours Super Mario Kart marathon? Challenge accepted!

Seriously, though, this is a non-story. The BBC use stock images all the time, and this will have slipped past someone who doesn't know any better.



6ch6ris6 said:

hahaha when i read the headline i thought it at least would be about a picture showing someone playing a recent mario kart offline. but it is freaking 20year old super mario kart xD



Zombie_Barioth said:

Yep, just like how rock n' roll was the devil's music and Pokemon did everything from teach children witchcraft to bring them closer to Satan. People come up with all sorts of negative stigmas to attach to pop-culture.

Thats some seriously hardcore Mario Kart there man, 21-years straight and hes still at it.



Araknie said:

Talking about MMO they demonstrate Mario Kart = fail.
Demostrating the Offline when talking MMO = second fail.

BBC = Better Be Crazy.



CaviarMeths said:

Is that 90 hours statistic a continuous stretch of someone at the keyboard? Because as a former MMO'r, it wasn't at all uncommon for people to remain logged in, but AFK while at work/school/sleeping for various reasons. Have a shop open, AFK farming with pets, etc, etc. Hard to call it a 90-hour gaming session when you're only physically present for a third of it.



letsplay said:

Ahh addiction. Name a subject and we are addicted to it. Food, alcohol, books, exercising, games. This is balony.



FritzFrapp said:

@Chris720 "And I'm sorry to report, but Doctor Who's been getting worse since Scott Moffit took over. Doctor Who now isn't even a shadow of its former glory."

Man, I knew his E3 performance last year was pretty ropey, but how that lead to him ending up in Cardiff is pretty surprising!



ricklongo said:

Look at the bright side... this probably means that whenever the uninitiated think "video games", they immediately think "Mario".



Damo said:

@Peach64 Ask Nintendo if this isn't worth getting into a fuss over. It could potentially tarnish their public image.



retro_player_22 said:

Consider how laggy some online games are, it's even worth playing a marathon for. Now Super Mario Kart and F-Zero, I could play those all day.



A1234 said:

old news. video games always have been an addiction. that is why they were made. that is why Computer Space was made. so that the "addicted" consumer would put in a quarter over and over and over again.



TruenoGT said:

"Wait... you mean the other characters are NOT controlled by real players around the world...? Then what I have been doing for the last 21 years???"



Chris720 said:

Googles Doctor Who writer

Steven Moffat...

Dam you brain! Why you do this to me! D:



fushimushi said:

Woah.. why would they use Mario Kart as reference LOL, just doesn't make any sense XD Plus Mario Kart isn't even a Massive Multiplayer Online.. YOU CAN HARDLY PLAY WITH ANYBODY ONLINE T^T remembering DS Wireless play or the GameBoy Advance Adapter to play with another person.. BBC needs to do more research.



ueI said:

This is like that time a newspaper tried to report on my school. The article used stock pictures that were obviously from another school.



Shambo said:

@Zombie_Barioth Don't forget how Pokémon and Mario's animal suits were animal cruelty according to PETA. Their true cause has my full support, but that was plainly ridiculous.



Ryoga said:

I like how "drama" is in the tags, lol.
And i think it should say "viral mainstream news".



JohniePizzapies said:

The SNES Mario Kart is the game I probably logged the most hours into in my life. I'm thinking it's either Mario Kart or Final Fantasy VII for the PSOne.



C-Olimar said:

@Chris720 A report is a statement of fact. You have given me an opinion.

Doctor who has recently had 2 of its best series ever (5 and 6) and it's lead actor has been nominated for a BAFTA - the only Doctor to ever be nominated.
(Not that BAFTAs carry much meaning thesr days, since TOWIE won one).
Series 7 was abysmal (in terms of Doctor Who), but one bad series doesn't mean the show is in decline.



unrandomsam said:

@Frapp That is an interesting one about Doctor Who. Hopefully with the next Doctor it will get back what was good about it (Prior to 2005). The new Doctor was the original definition of the hardcore fan (Of the old school Doctor Who).



unrandomsam said:

If you were playing Mario Kart for 90 Hours in a stretch you would have at least imported the US one by now. (Or perhaps running the PAL version at 60hz which removes the borders and makes it faster than the US one overall and harder to play).



Chris720 said:

@C-Olimar "A report is a statement of fact. You have given me an opinion." You're nit-picking on that bit? Really? Lol.

I found David Tennant and Matt Smith did their jobs really well playing as the Doctor. But compared to the old series of Doctor Who, before Christopher Eccleston, it really isn't anything special. It's missing that fear factor that was prevalent in the older shows. When Steven Moffat took over, I feel as if the shows quality went down by miles. At least it was still decent with Russel T Davies.

As for Series 7, just what was that? I want it to be as amazing as it was before, not some kiddy show with more wit than fear. I just hope the new actor (whatever his name is) will bring back the darker tone the show desperately needs.



C-Olimar said:

@Chris720 I wouldn't class that as nitpicking. You should choose your language more carefully. And I really don't get the joke...

I have a feeling Peter Capaldi is going to be an excellent Doctor.



Yorumi said:

I'm more curious who the heck they found that plays games for 90 hours. That just isn't physically possible. Even if you assume it's per week that still doesn't add up really. I don't even think the professional starcraft players play 90 hours a week. I just wonder what constitutes research at these places, breaking news research shows gamers play games for 300 hours per week.



HeatBombastic said:

It's gaming compulsion not gaming addiction.

Some people let gaming compulsion get in the way of other parts of their lives they see as important.



Phle said:

Those gamers that are "online up to 90 hours at a time" could be taking a good nights sleep in between here & there and just stay online for the convenience? I doubt many players mange to play continuously for more than 30 hours without a nap.



Einherjar said:

@HeatBombastic Isnt that basicly the same ? An adiction also forces you to do certain stuff. Care to explain ?
The longest gaming marathon i did was a 17 hour long multi difficulty run of Resident Evil 5 with my best friend onlaunch day. We didnt sleep, but we made constant, short breaks, made a self made pizza (we even made the dough ourself). But that was defenitly the limit, if not slightly beyond it.
I certainly would never do that kind of stuff again Maybe im getting old
But i highly doubt that 90 hours straight gaming is even possible. Our reflexes and attention span took a steep downward curve towards the end, so i dont think that a 90 hour run could be any more effective.



FullbringIchigo said:

hey it's the BBC and they never let something as little as the facts get in the way of a story, just look at what they did to the PS3 with the yellow light they made it look far worse than it was



hYdeks said:

wow, they couldn't have picked a more recent Mario Kart game, like the Wii one or something? I mean, come on...



GiftedGimp said:

So basically the BBC have brought a old story from the early 90's into the 21st century. Back then during the 16bit era there was stories about gaming addiction becoming a problem. Children would bunk of school, adults would phone in sick. Gamers would be sat in thier bedrooms (often darkened) with little/no interaction with people.
Latter on as graphics got better and more realistic it was violence portrayed in games and even now from time to time we see GTA made my son cave a prostitutes head in with a baseball bat stories.
Now it Online gaming... well at least now onlinr gaming gives people to interact/talk with others not like in the 90's.
The fact that the BBC don't even use relevent games as examples to back up thier reporting only adds to the irrelevence of thier story. Yes Videogame addiction is a problem for some, but to feel the problem is so bad that a story needs to be created is a farce. But then again now the BBC have made everyone sick and tired of the latest royal baby they are probably just trying to find something for thier reporters to actually do.



Ryno said:

I love playing Super Mario Kart in red lighted room. It makes the Mode 7 effects really pop!



Megumi said:

Reminds me of those TV news articles of Animal Crossing being "dangerous" lol.



GuSolarFlare said:

microsoft paid them to put a nintendo game in the article!!!
just kidding! maybe someone who doesn't play videogames saw the many karts in the screen and thought: "yeah! that's it! old and with many people!"
but that also sounds impossible.... let's blame the "hackers" like the big companies do when they don't know what was the problem! LOL!



JaxonH said:

No doubt. To the media, all games are the same- doesn't matter if it's a SNES Nintendo game or an online MMORPG. They just group everything into one lump and proclaim, "This is gaming. This is what's hurting our children. This is what's causing 12 year olds to shoot up schools. It's all Mario Kart's fault!"



Katernity said:

I used to create graphics for a local news station's website. the web producer would send me a request like "i need a 250 x 250 pixel picture of someone playing video games" i'd give them a picture, having no idea what the story was even about. that's probably how this happened. it's just a lack of communication between the writer, producer, and graphic artist. nbd.



ajcismo said:

Regardless of the lack of relevancy that picture is, I'm trying to imagine playing 90 hours of SNES Mario Kart in one sitting...



StarDust4Ever said:

Of course it's an MMO, because at any given moment, thousands of players across the galaxy are plugging up their SNES and playing SMK. You're just not aware of the other players



knvx said:

A few years back play super Mario kart for 90 hours straight... Mario circuit 2 funest course in racing period.. "lucked at the ramp" as its known in my neck of the woods



theblackdragon said:

why the heck would they not use an image of WoW (or a similar MMO) for this? WoW in particular is notoriously associated with online gaming addiction.



SamiCetinSMK said:

Oh dear... what have they done... Now we do have an online community for SMK via emulators but 99% of the rest of the playing is done on console at meets. We have the Super Mario Kart World Championships starting in 8 days time in France... That will be at an event meet up, though it is addictive I have to say



Rune_Meister88 said: get out of that rock you're living under!! to criticize is one thing but atleast research it before spouting such nonsense!! it's like PETA claiming pokemon promotes animal cruelty-ummm they're digital not real (atleast focus on real ones not 8bit sprites) as for vid game naysayers-you have a fear of the unknown so you demonise it for your own self-gratification

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